Historic buildings are not the only thing that connect us to our shared heritage. In Wyoming, the spaces that surround our cities and towns are equal parts of our state's historic character. Cheyenne, Laramie, and Rock Springs would not exist without the transcontinental railroad traversing the broad, empty space of the high plains. Towns like Casper, Pinedale, and Gillette would not be where they are today without the oil and coal reserves being extracted in the surrounding hills. In the modern imagination that understands an essential dichotomy between city and nature, spaces are the places where we truly flesh out and continue to negotiate humanity's fundamental relationship with the wilderness. National Parks, highways, and trails are just some examples of places we can visit to see how we have related to nature in the past, how choose to understand it in the present, and decide how we want to change in the future.
We always love to hear from you about your stories and experiences with historic spaces and places in Wyoming. Tell us about them here!
Officially closed on February 1, 1946, the Douglas, Wyoming prisoner of war camp that housed Italian and German P.O.W.’s during WWII represents an interesting chapter in the history of our state.
Jeffrey City did not begin as a mining town. The town originally sprang up in the early 1930s when Beulah Peterson Walker and her husband moved to the area from Nebraska and homesteaded in the area.
Located in northeast Wyoming along the Powder River, the LX Bar joins a long list of historic ranches that tell the story of the early cattle industry in the state of Wyoming.
Carbon was founded in 1868 along the Union Pacific railroad and was named for the resource that was mined in the area: coal.
Our relationship with fire goes way back, but we are still engaged in a constant negotiation with the flame to this day. Fire lookout towers stand as beacons in the everlasting conversation between natural processes and human interests.
Empire was founded in 1908 by African American settlers who came from Nebraska to build a racially self-sufficient, politically autonomous community in the Equality State. Empire thrived for about a decade, but vanished from the map in the mid-1920s.
While railroad towns like Cheyenne were already developing reputations and nicknames like “Hell on Wheels,” the railroad industry was also thriving in the mountains that span the vast spaces between those towns. The early period of railroad construction throughout the west formed a strong connection between interstate commerce and transportation and what would become our nation’s national forests.
The development of the modern west was largely related to the vast open spaces that surround the towns. Many of these lands are federally owned, and contain historic resources related to homesteading, ranching and grazing, energy development, and fire suppression. The National Historic Preservation Act plays an important role in preserving these open spaces and the cultural resources that lie within them.
Historic preservation is always an ongoing process - it is rarely finished, and is often a community effort. Preservation at Heart Mountain wouldn't be possible without a community of volunteers and supporters who see the value in saving such a troubling place. Their hard work will keep Heart Mountain available for people of the next generation. Read Part III of our Heart Mountain profile to learn about long term preservation at the site and how to get involved.
How do you preserve something when there is nothing left to preserve? The story of preservation at Heart Mountain shows that there may always be something to preserve - you just have to go find it and bring it back.
Historic preservation isn't always about saving the prettiest buildings or the sites of triumph of the human spirit. Historic preservation is at its core about preserving sites that are important. Important sites can include both the triumphant and the embarrassing moments from our history. They all provide us with insight and direction about who we are, where we came from, and how we can create a more equitable future.
Stacy Whitman-Moore worked for two years for the Alliance for Historic Wyoming as an archaeologist in Grand Teton National Park. Read her testimony about her experience and why cultural resources matter.
Oftentimes in historic preservation, there are conflicts that arise between industrial development and historic places and spaces. In this piece, AHW volunteer Kathrine Kasckow shares her personal account of how the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act helped preserve an important historic landscape on public lands.
The western cowboy's history in Wyoming is actually relatively short. Several different Native American groups inhabited the region far before immigrants from the east settled there, and they are still here today.
Not all towns last forever. However, they leave behind relics, clues, and memories that excite the imagination and inspire tales of mystery.
Historic ranches don't just give us beautiful century-old barns to look at - they also contribute in preserving the wide-open spaces that have come to define Wyoming.
South Pass played a crucial role in allowing the booming United States to spread from coast to coast
Wyoming’s economy has long been driven by energy extraction. However, what remains less well-known are some of the remarkable industrial heritage sites that dot the state.
Wyoming has always been at the heart of the nation’s move west.